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Asthma symptoms among children linked to diesel truck emissions in the South Bronx
Detail: Results of a five-year study by researchers at New York University's School of Medicine and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service show that soot particles from the exhaust of diesel trucks is a major contributor to the alarmingly high rates of asthma symptoms among school-aged children in the South Bronx.

Past land use decisions have placed school children in close proximity to highways, truck routes, industrial land-use areas and other environmental hazards. Several major highways surround the South Bronx, including Interstates 95, 87, 278 and 895. At Hunts Point Market alone, some 12,000 trucks roll in and out daily. Modeled concentrations of traffic-related particulate matter and nitrogen oxides are two to five times higher in close proximity of South Bronx highways than in other parts of the South Bronx. About one-fifth of all pre-K to 8th-grade students in the South Bronx attend schools within less than two blocks of major highways. The study found asthma symptoms, particularly wheezing, doubled among elementary school children on high traffic days.

This is the first study where elementary school children’s exposures to traffic pollution were measured. The results confirm that even though diesel soot comprised only 10% of all the tiny particulate matters inhaled by children in these heavy traffic zones, but it was this portion that is causing exacerbations of asthma in children.

For more information contact:

Robert Polner
New York University

Pamela McDonnell
Director, Media Relations
NYU Medical Center
Date: November 12 2006